SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Fears that many CEGEP students would drop out of school rather than return to complete their winter semester in August seem to be unfounded, according to officials at several local colleges where students boycotted classes this spring to oppose tuition hikes.
Fourteen CEGEPs across Quebec – eight on the island of Montreal – were forced to cancel classes after students voted to boycott classes in opposition to the Liberal government’s decision to raise tuition fees by $325 per year over the next five years.
The deadline for students to indicate whether they will participate in a special summer session to complete their courses is midnight Friday, so the final numbers are not in yet. But administrators at several Montreal Island CEGEPs told The Gazette that 80 to 90 per cent of their students have indicated they will attend the summer session.
“The vast majority of students have said ‘yes,’ they are coming back, but we don’t have our final statistics yet,” said Odette Query, assistant to the principal at Collège Ahuntsic.
At Collège Rosemont, registration administrator Jidaine Borgella said most of the students, about 3,500, have indicated they will return to classes in August.
Students who do not intend to complete a course that was suspended because of the boycott can request an “incomplete” status for that course, so that it will not be counted as a failure and negatively affect their grade-point average.
Borgella said that, so far, incompletes have been requested for 500 courses at Collège Rosemont, though she could not say how many students had made those requests. She said it’s not possible to know whether students who have requested “incomplete” status for a course plan to retake that course from the beginning in the fall semester, have transferred to other CEGEPS, or have dropped out all together.
Collège Bois-de-Boulogne spokesperson Anne-Marie Godbout said that by Friday afternoon just over 87 per cent of the school’s approximately 3,000 regular students had indicated their intention to return to class in August, while only 71 students had requested incomplete status for one or more courses.
And at CEGEP de Saint-Laurent, Carole Poirier said about 81 per cent of students had indicated they would continue their semester in August, 11 per cent had said they would not, and 8 per cent had not answered by yesterday afternoon.
Poirier said the CEGEP was pleased to see so many students returning to finish courses in August, although she noted it remains to be seen whether the ongoing student protest will complicate that plan.
“We are happy to see so many coming back, but since this is the first time we have seen a strike of this magnitude, we are not sure what will happen. We are crossing our fingers, and we are ready for classes to resume on August 17,” she said. — www.shafaqna.com